Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Philadelphia Freedom

Philadelphia has never been on my ‘must see’ list. In fact, I can’t even spell the name without using my spellchecker. The only thing I know about Philly (spelled that on my own) is they have some sort of damaged bell and a song by Elton John that doesn’t really seem to say much about the city at all. But the Philly Skate Club was having their annual Philly Free Skate weekend and I couldn’t think of anything more adventurous than a weekend of skating a new city. Plus I always like the word ‘free’.

The organized skates all started at the top of the Philadelphia Museum of Art stairs. These are the same stairs that Rocky runs up in his famous movie scene. So every skate I re-enacted this famous movie scene. The only difference was I ran up on skates which was way cooler than plain old sneakers in my humble opinion.

The first skate on Friday afternoon we were honked at in a not so friendly manner more times than I could count. I started calling Philly ‘The City of Brotherly Beeeeep’.

The second Friday skate was like one giant flash mob. There were well over 100 skaters and we would sprint a distance while taking up traffic lanes and then abruptly stop in a public area. After a few minutes we would quickly sprint off again in various directions. It really was like a city wide skating flash mob and very entertaining.

The organized skates were fun but my favorite part of the trip was when the small Orlando contingent decided to venture out on our own. We were in search of Tony Luke’s which is supposed to be the best cheese steaks in town…or cheese cakes as I kept calling them for some dumb reason. There was a long line but the cheese steaks definitely lived up to their reputation. And the sautéed spinach side was also yummy and made me feel less guilty about my huge hoagie steak sandwich and cola.

From there we continued our adventure and exploring on skates and saw a plethora of unusual things including a kid in a Panda costume in the 90 degree heat, an anatomically correct Chinese guardian lion in Chinatown and superheroes from a convention that was in town.

We also skated over the Ben Franklin Bridge to beautiful Camden NJ so we could call our day a two state skate. The view from the top of the bridge was invigorating as was the fast skate down the bridge. Camden was deserted but seemed nice enough until a few drugged out looking locals approached us. The looks we got later when we told the local skaters we went to Camden made me realize we were lucky to get out of there incident free.

During our trip we all acquired vacation names. These were well earned nicknames based on things that occurred on vacation. Our Orlando group consisted of Chainsaw Joe, Backstreet Bruce and Cruisin and Bruisin Cathy. I won’t explain where these names came from since it’s probably more of an inside joke but I highly recommend trying your own vacation names as an entertaining addition to any trip.

I totaled 95 skating miles over the weekend. My shins were bruised so bad that the skates have been put on a ‘time out’ while I heal. Overall I met some nice people and had a good time in the city of brotherly beeeep but I don’t think I’ll be visiting again any time soon.

Cat “Cruzin Chainsaw Backstreet” Cathy

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Coloring on the Sidewalk…What Fun!

I’ve seen sidewalk chalk art for years and always admired the artists’ skills and their medium. At a festival recently I noticed that the sidewalk artists used a gridded picture as a guide and then outlined the drawing on the sidewalk before coloring it in with chalk. Somehow this made it seem much easier and appealed to my engineering brain so I decided I wanted to give it a try.

So I bought the supplies and contacted my Estonian neighbor (my sister from another mister as I blogged about recently) and convinced her that it would be fun and/or exciting to do this. We decided the sidewalk just outside our building would be the best place. While we were working on our masterpieces other neighbors came by and wondered what we were doing. I decided to make up a story that my Estonia friend showed much promise in sidewalk art so she was taken from her family at the age of 5 and trained for this task her entire life. I actually think some of my neighbors believed me until they saw just how simple our artwork was.

Since then, our art has been the topic of much conversation at our apartment building (I guess we really need to get more excitement in our lives). One neighbor was extremely impressed with our art until she found out it was done by two adults. Naturally she assumed it was done by the one child living in our building. Perhaps my Estonian friend and I are just not understood in our time and our art will flourish once we’ve passed on…nah!

They’ve lasted two weeks and counting including two heavy rain storms. I’m sure most of this is due to the hairspray coating I did since I saw that at the aforementioned festival also. Every time I walk by they make me smile as I remember the fun we had. I hope you take some time out for fun, art and new challenges too!

Cat “Watch Where you Walk ‘Cause the Sidewalks Talk” Cathy

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ten Lashes for Email Spammers and Computer Hackers!

I’m can’t stand spam emails. If I want my penis enlarged I’ll…wait I don’t have one of those last I checked. Thankfully I don’t get nearly as many spam emails lately thanks to an awesome spam filter that automatically sends this junk to a spam folder which keeps me happy and stress free.

But recently one of my email accounts was hacked and all my friends in my address book received pharmaceutical emails from me. Thankfully my friends were smart enough to realize all those impersonal emails with just a Viagra link weren’t actually from me. But it still felt like a big invasion of my privacy.

I think we need a spam investigation unit at the police department. I can envision a Spam Criminal Investigators TV show already. Seriously, I do think there needs to be more severe punishment like having to send personalized apology letters to everyone involved or maybe the ten lashes mentioned in my title really would be appropriate.

The lengths these spammers go to just amazes me. I now get emails that look like they are forwarded text messages from my phone. Just imagine if these people used their skills for ‘good’ instead of ‘evil’ what a better world we would have. Making money is nice and necessary but having a job you can take pride in should mean a lot as well. I’m amazed and disappointed that many people just look for ways to screw others out of their money instead of earning an honest and rewarding living.

So let’s get this anti spam campaign started…I’ll administer the lashes.

Cat “Cheap Pharmaceuticals” Cathy